Aim: To determine the movement features governing expert assessment of gait dystonia severity in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: In this prospective cohort study, three movement disorder neurologists graded lower extremity dystonia severity in gait videos of individuals with CP using a 10-point Likert-like scale. Using conventional content analysis, we determined the features experts cited when grading dystonia severity. Then, using open-source pose estimation techniques, we determined gait variable analogs of these expert-cited features correlating with their assessments of dystonia severity. Results: Experts assessed videos from 116 participants (46 with dystonia aged 15 years [SD 3] and 70 without dystonia aged 15 years [SD 2], both groups ranging 10–20 years old and 50% male). Variable limb adduction was most commonly cited by experts when identifying dystonia, comprising 60% of expert statements. Effect on gait (regularity, stability, trajectory, speed) and dystonia amplitude were common features experts used to determine dystonia severity, comprising 19% and 13% of statements respectively. Gait variables assessing adduction variability and amplitude (inter-ankle distance variance and foot adduction amplitude) were significantly correlated with expert assessment of dystonia severity (multiple linear regression, p < 0.001). Interpretation: Adduction variability and amplitude are quantifiable gait features that correlate with expert-determined gait dystonia severity in individuals with CP. Consideration of these features could help optimize and standardize the clinical assessment of gait dystonia severity in individuals with CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-977
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


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